BELOW THE BOTTOM RUNG 31
inhumanity to man—is still deeply rooted in the Hindu social
system; nearly all attempts to abolish it have met with failure.
If a ten per cent improvement has occurred in the last fifty years,
that is an optimistic estimate. A large number of people in Eng-
land and America., deluded by Gandhi's propaganda, imagine
that this disease—for what else can we call it ?—is on the wane.
They have read with approval the Mahatina's denunciations of
it, they have seen photographs of him with his arm round the
shoulders of the outcasts, and they know that lie gave the title of
*Harijan?1 to his own newspaper, which circulated among the
high and might of the land* * Surely,' they say to themselves,
*such a powerful example; in these enlightened days, must be
having some effect ?3 It is not. As for Gandhi being the un-
touchables' friend, let us listen to Dr. Ambedkar, who is their
indisputed leader. He said to me :
"Gandhi is the greatest enemy'the untouchables have ever had in
A little knowledge of recent history is necessary in order to
understand this accusation. But first let us refresh our memories
with the theory of untouehability, and then illustrate that theory
with a few facts.
As Macaulay's schoolboy would tell you, there are four main
castes in the Hindu religion.
At the top come the Brahmins, hereditary holy persons, but
without a church. The stormy and brilliant Nehru, whose auto-
biography was a best-seller on both sides of the Atlantic, is a
Brahmin, and it is wise never to forget it. It weighs a great deal
more heavily with him than the fact that he was educated at
Harrow and Cambridge.
C. R. Rajagopalachari, ex-President of Congress, and the chief
link between the Extremists and the British, is also a Brahmin.
So is Pandit Makviya, the leader of the extreme right wing of
Hinduism. So are most of the Congress bigwigs.
1 Harijan really means c Child of God.' It has come to be associated with the un-
touchables. The Government of India's name for them is 'Scheduled Classes.*